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The Eshelman Institute for Innovation typically solicits proposals on an annual basis. However, we recognize that bold, impactful, and disruptive ideas can arise at any time, thus, we encourage faculty and staff to submit these opportunistic proposals to the Institute for consideration.

Opportunistic Proposal Criteria

Like all other proposals submitted to the Eshelman Institute for Innovation, opportunistic proposal must be highly innovative and aim to accelerate change in education, research, and healthcare.

In addition to the established grant criteria, the following criterion must be met for innovators to submit proposals outside of the annual submission cycle.

  • The idea must be time-sensitive in response to environmental and societal needs and present a unique opportunity that may be lost if not immediately pursued.
  • The innovator must establish that a compelling opportunity is available and that immediate funding is needed to support the proposed work.
  • It is the responsibility of the innovator to justify why the idea must be pursued now rather than through the annual proposal submission cycle.

Submitting an Opportunistic Proposal

Step 1: Submit a Pre-Proposal

Complete a pre-proposal using the online form. The pre-proposal should address the following:

  • Describe why the project is time-sensitive and the proposal needs to be accepted now
  • Indicate the relevant grant category 
  • Include a brief project summary and identifying the type of innovation you are proposing and the expected mode of delivery to end-users (prescription product, consumer product, software, service etc.) 
  • Address the novelty and differentiation of the proposed technology, product, service, or asset 
  • Include a preliminary list of existing intellectual property known to be required for commercialization of the proposed product 
  • Provide an analysis of the competitive landscape

Step 2: Review of Pre-proposal

The Eshelman Institute for Innovation administrative team will review the pre-proposal. The innovator will be notified within 4 weeks of submission regarding the decision to advance the pre-proposal to a full proposal.

Step 3: Submit a Full Proposal

Once notified of the decision to advance the submission of a full proposal, the innovator will have 4 weeks to submit the proposal. Full proposal requirements are found in the grant guidelines located here. Full proposals will not be submitted through our secure grant system. Please email all required documents to

Step 4: Review of Full Proposal

Due to the time-sensitive nature of these requests and at the discretion of Institute leadership, the review will likely follow a similar process to the annual proposal submission cycle with adaptation as needed. For example, the innovator should be prepared to pitch the proposal to the Institute review team if invited.